HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsThe American election 2020

The American election 2020


Americans like to think they have the greatest democracy on earth, often for good reason. However, the last four years under the Presidency of Donald J Trump and his Republican enablers, Americans, and the rest of the world, have seen just realised how fragile their democracy is.

guest column:Cedric Steele

The election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as President-elect and Vice-President-elect, respectively, is a victory for democracy, despite the fact that Trump has not conceded defeat.

The Biden-Harris ticket, with over 75 million vote count, garnered the highest tally in the history of American presidential elections. Worryingly though, Trump’s over 70 million votes is the second highest vote count, ever.

Four years with Trump at the helm has been a painful horror show replete with racism, constant lying, ignorant rantings, childish name-calling, unbelievable corruption, wanton illegality topped off with culpable mass murder and devastating unemployment; not to mention the fact that he was impeached.

And yet, despite all this, around 47% of the electorate voted for four more years of this madness.

Therein lies the tragedy of America. The rest of the world, although blowing a collective sigh of relief at the demise of Trump and hopefully Trumpism, can’t help but ask themselves, how and why would so many Americans return to the ballot boxes and vote for him in such astounding numbers?

I think the answer is two-fold; firstly, to coin a phrase, it’s all about race, stupid!

America begins and ends with the issues surrounding race, and by that I mean the dynamics between black and white people. Four hundred years of slavery in America plus another hundred or so years of widespread post-emancipation discrimination have caused deep-seated problems that have never been properly addressed. America has never had its version of a truth and reconciliation moment to redress the sins of its past.

The perpetrators of the evil that has been meted out against black people have rarely, if ever, been held accountable. Slavery, which was the economic exploitation of blacks through policies of white supremacy, actually pre-dates the birth of the American Republic.

Let us not forget that the white population of the southern states opted for secession from the United States, over giving up the holding of humans as chattel to be bought and sold, worked to death, raped as a matter of routine, castrated, whipped mercilessly, lynched, denied all forms of education, among other atrocities, were not only prepared to kill, but also to die for it to continue. History records that these Confederates were in fact traitors to the United States.

However, after the bloodiest war America has ever participated in, with the loss of over a recently corrected figure of 750 000 lives, none of the Confederate leaders were ever prosecuted or held to any account. Since the end of the civil war, the inherent racism of the south has undergone a peculiar sanitisation based on misinformation and downright lies.

The villains have re-emerged as heroes and now have national prominence. The vanquished southerners have inexplicably become the “victims”.

The space for this nonsense to take root has been allowed primarily because there was no accountability and, therefore, no consequences for these ardent racists. There still has not been any justice for the real victims, the black people in America, more than 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation on the January 1, 1863.

No apology, no compensation and no attention to their grievances accumulated over the previous half millennium. However, the US government under Abraham Lincoln did pay compensation to the slave holders for their “loss of property”.

At the time of the civil war, the southern states constituted about 35-40% of the entire population of the US. Put another way, at least 35-40% of the US were overtly racist white supremacists virtually from the birth of the nation.

Had there been a national reckoning, a Nuremburg style trial after the civil war where the country could have truly and openly come to terms with its original sin, slavery, where the worst perpetrators could have been brought to book, I am convinced America would have proceeded on a different trajectory in terms of racial justice and race relations.

The north having won the war did not have the moral fortitude to do the right thing for black people and indeed the nation. Instead, they did everything to appease the racist south by now playing the hard-done-by victims of the war.

This has continued to today through the antics of the Republican party in that anything that challenges white hegemony, white privilege, white domination or white entitlement is somehow unfair to them.

This has continued to today through the antics of the Republican party in that anything that challenges white hegemony, white privilege, white domination or white entitlement is somehow unfair to them.

Jump ahead 150 or so years, Trump is POTUS, elected on a mixture of lies, populist rhetoric, more lies and a whole heap of racism. He has an ardent support base of around 35-40% of the population, this is no coincidence. If you allow hatred to go unabated, unchallenged and unresolved it will fester and morph into something worse.

Trumpism is merely a combination of grift, populist rhetoric and Neo Confederacy, the last stand as it were for white supremacy. The vast majority of the people who voted for Trump are those that dream about making America the bastion of white supremacy again. They hark back to a time when America was the unchallenged champion and chief exporter of white supremacy throughout the world. Nazism, apartheid and the White Australia policy, to name a few, were all modelled on American white supremacy ideals and government policies.

Trump has latched onto the yearning of this rabidly racist third or so of the population for he is just like them and they are just like him. These people will show undying support for him or anyone else who readily espouses white supremacy because to them, perpetuating their warped notion of a caste hierarchy with WASPs at the top is more important to them than anything else in their lives. Having a racist as POTUS reinforces their pathetic view of what life should be in America.

The second reason for the huge Trump vote count is the strange and frankly bizarre love affair America has with dishonest rogues. The “Snake Oil” salesman is as American as apple pie. Conmen are found in every country on earth but they have a special place in American folklore, which is probably why so many of them have been successful there.

Trump and his family, friends, and political allies are so blatantly crooked and corrupt that their behaviour has become the new norm. Again, the Republican party is replete with these crooks yet they are continually re-elected into office despite ongoing criminal investigations.

Clearly, Americans don’t care that they have been repeatedly lied to, cheated, scammed, insulted, laughed at, and even killed in large numbers by a pandemic their President knew was deadly yet instead of warning them and taking the necessary preventive steps to abate it, proceeded to lie to them solely for his selfish agenda of providing a false narrative to help his re-election bid.

The way to rid America once and for all of the spectre of Trump, Trumpism and Neo Confederacy is to take a long and hard look at the last four years, as well as what led up to the election of the fraud that is Trump. Take a look at what has happened to the Republican party which is no longer a political party but rather a co-conspirator to Trump’s criminal enterprise.

The whole cabal has to be investigated, not by the usual sympathisers like Mueller or Comey, people who share a similar worldview as these white supremacists, but by impartial hard-nosed investigators who single-mindedly want to get to the truth, like the prosecutors that investigated Nixon and Agnew in the early 1970s, without fear nor favour and this time no deals and no pardons.

Justice must be visited on these people and, if found guilty, must pay the price in order to deter other racists, crooks and political villains

Democracy appears to have righted itself in 2020. A wannabe horrible fascist dictator was defeated but it was much closer than it should have been. Sometimes democracy and justice need some help. Accountability and punishment of the perpetrators of evil deeds are the way to go.

Germany is a great example, after the Nuremberg trials there have never been any glorification of Nazi generals, flags, songs or anything else. Germans have evolved enough to know right from wrong. History has recorded these monsters as exactly what they were, monsters. However, had they been citizens of the confederacy they would probably have had statues erected of them all over America.

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